The all-new Focus RS is currently the new king of the hot-hatch world, thanks to its awesome AWD system and 345bhp Ecoboost powerplant which propels it from 0-60mph in a super-quick 4.7 seconds; it even has a bonkers drift mode should the mood take you.
Volkswagen have also been ahead of the game with their entry to the ‘Super’ hatch wars with the formidable Golf R, featuring a 2.0 litre engine producing 297bhp and all-wheel drive, the Golf R dispenses with the 0-60mph in a similarly quick 4.9 seconds when equipped with the optional DSG gearbox (5.1 seconds 0-60 with the manual).
Then along came the Germanic big boys with even faster ‘Super hatches to raise the game even further, the supersonic Audi RS3 and the madness that is the A45 AMG, both seeking to redefine what is possible in an everyday hatchback, the RS3 produces a massive 362bhp from its 2.5 litre engine, the A45 meanwhile features an even more massive 376bhp from its 2.0 litre turbo motor completing the 0-60mph run in a staggering 4.2 seconds, the RS3 meanwhile is similarly quick with a 4.3 second run from 0-60mph.
So bearing in mind that by comparison a Ferrari 360 back in 2005 could complete the 0-60mph run in 4.3 seconds, where do we go from here, how much quicker can ‘Super’ hatch’s get. Audi and Mercedes have remained quiet on the subject to date, merely face lifting both the RS3 and the A45 while adding a smidgen of additional horsepower, Ford and Volkswagen appear to have been rather busy though on this front with development of the Golf R400 and the Focus possibly named the RS500 respectively.
The Ford Focus RS500
Ford is going a step further by developing an even more powerful version which may or may not receive the historic ‘RS500’ name.
The revised version which should receive a vast power increase over its standard ‘RS’ sibling is also expected to be lighter with some minor bodywork tweaks, possibly these include additional bonnet vents as seen on the test mule. Given that previous-gen RS500 came with a 45bhp power increase and was only available with Matte Black bodywork, therefore we would expect to see power around the 400bhp mark with a single colour choice limited to 500 cars being built. The test mule pictured has been seen lapping the famed Nurburgring in recent weeks.
The Volkswagen Golf R400
Volkswagen meanwhile has also been busy and was spotted running a test mule of the R400 last year at the Nurburgring, the R400 concept made its debut at the Beijing Motor Show in 2014 but so far no official release has been confirmed.
The R400 will likely feature a far stronger and beefed up version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo used in the current top model the Golf R, let’s assume the production version follows on directly from the concept you can expect VW to extract another 100 ponies from the current 297bhp 2.0 litre powerplant, this will feature as a bare minimum, new pistons, increased turbo pressure and a larger intercooler system to ensure the turbo is cooled correctly along with a new exhaust system to ensure it can breathe as well.
The only other alternative to this is VW could potentially drop in the 2.5 Litre RS3 engine as it’s a straightforward drop in due the Golf sharing the same MQB platform with the RS3. The one thing that will surely remain is the R models four wheel drive system which will be essential in the power delivery alongside with DSG only gearbox for this model.
The Predication For The Future
So with Ford and Volkswagen potentially about to break the 400bhp barrier which is the same power output as a Ferrari 360, where do car-makers go from here? If you bear in mind the Ferrari 488GTB produces a whopping 661bhp, will we see this kind of power in a ‘Super’ hatch in a decade’s time?
I would expect in the next five years or less, to see one of either, Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen or Ford to break the 500bhp power barrier in a production road-going ‘Super’ hatch.
To think that a ‘Super’ hatch is a car you can use every day, you can put your kids in it and take them to school, the dog can also come along as you have a big boot in which you can actually put some stuff in! If you want to you can even drive to IKEA very quickly and put some flat pack furniture in a ‘Super’ hatch and drive home at a million miles an hour, you will need all this speed as flat pack furniture is going to take you until the end of time to construct.
Whatever happens, the time is now to be in the market for a ‘Super’ hatch, but the future of ‘Super’ hatch is going to be even more magnificent if today’s crop is anything to go by…….